COUPON QUEEN: Tips for smart online holiday shopping

Published: December 12, 2012

keyboard keys with shopping key with a shopping cart on it


Want to save yourself some serious cash this holiday season? Practice smart online shopping.

During the holiday season we tend to spend more than normal.¬† Considering the socializing, gift-exchanges, potlucks, parties, wish lists and holiday sales, it isn’t hard to get caught up in all the spending.¬† A great way to save money and avoid claustrophobic malls is to shop online.¬† Even if you are concerned about using your credit card for internet shopping, you can still save lots of time and money by doing your comparison shopping online.


Not all deals are as great as they seem at first glance.  The price for an online item may look lower than advertised in the stores, but keep in mind any additional costs that you may have to pay such as shipping and duty.  Check the shipping options available because some retailers will allow free shipping as a promo or if you pick up the product at one of their retail locations.  Make sure you also search Google or coupon sites for coupon codes that allow free shipping or additional discounts.  If you are browsing for products on non-Canadian sites, you also have to be prepared to pay the duty on your purchase in addition to taxes when the item gets shipped to you.  Duties on goods vary widely, depending on the product and the country in which it was manufactured.  There are estimating tools available online such as Duty Calculator.

Comparison Shopping

Put on your coziest PJs, grab your beverage of choice and get comfy.  Sounds better than an exhausting day running around town searching for deals doesn’t it?  Google is a good place to start your comparison shopping but there are other tools you can use as well.

There are a number of sites referred to as shopping engines that can help you find the best prices locally, across the country and even internationally.  Some Canadian price comparison sites to check out:,,, and  If you are a cross border shopper also check out American price comparison sites.

A tool I have just started using is Priceblink.¬† It is a browser add-on available for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari or Chrome. What’s cool is that the add-on only appears when you are shopping online, otherwise when surfing it stays hidden. When you are on a site where you are shopping a message bar pops up at the top of your screen to offer coupons, price comparisons and product reviews.¬† It scans over 4000 merchants to find lower prices for the item you are viewing.¬† PriceBlink is directed towards a US audience but it is still a great price comparison tool even though it does not cover some familiar Canadian merchants.

There are also sites like,, and  These sites list deals found by other shoppers, allow you to check flyers from one place and have forums where you can post requests for information once you sign up.

Know the Terms

BEFORE charging your card, make sure to check the return and exchange policies.  They tend to vary widely so it is smart to read them thoroughly before making your purchase so there are no surprises.  Before pressing the submit button to make your purchase, double check all details including the billing and shipping address, the payment information and the total cost.  Print out your documentation and/or receipt or better yet save a tree and save as PDF files onto your computer.  Also, make a note of when your purchase should be arriving so you can follow up with the retailer if you do not receive it.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Ruby Bedi was a Coupon Queen even before coupon savings were trendy. Her passion for saving money is matched to her mission to help people learn to budget, save, and get out of debt by making smart buying choices.  She can be reached at

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Indian news channel hires country’s first transgender anchor

VANCOUVER DESI A 31-year-old transgender woman in India has become the country’s first-ever transgender person to read the news on live television, according to the…
Continue Reading »


Young Muslims in Britain speak out against ISIS with social media campaign

VANCOUVER DESI Muslims in Britain are speaking out against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with a social media campaign to raise awareness…
Continue Reading »


Deported Saskatoon woman in hiding in Pakistan, friend says

CHARLES HAMILTON and EVAN RADFORD POSTMEDIA NEWS and THE CANADIAN PRESS Jamila Bibi, the¬†refugee claimant deported this week from Saskatoon, is now in hiding in¬†Pakistan,…
Continue Reading »


Today on the Hill: Duffy could have trial date set

By Terry Pedwell THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Canadians will get a better idea today of when disgraced Sen. Mike Duffy will go on trial…
Continue Reading »

Maternal health in, climate change out: A look at Canada’s changing UN speeches

By Alexander Panetta THE CANADIAN PRESS UNITED NATIONS — A scan of Canadian speeches at the United Nations General Assembly reveals a shift in priorities…
Continue Reading »


Deported Saskatoon woman in hiding in Pakistan, friend says

CHARLES HAMILTON and EVAN RADFORD POSTMEDIA NEWS and THE CANADIAN PRESS Jamila Bibi, the¬†refugee claimant deported this week from Saskatoon, is now in hiding in¬†Pakistan,…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Larissa Cahute

Video: Vancouver Desi reporter gets a ‘desi’ makeover

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi reporter Larissa Cahute gets a taste of the hectic life backstage at Vancouver Fashion Week as she gets done up in…
Continue Reading »


Surrey’s Punjabi radio stations facing CRTC ban

TERESA VERENCA SURREY NOW SURREY ‚ÄĒ Two radio stations operating out of Surrey could be slapped with mandatory cease-and-desist orders come October. According to the…
Continue Reading »


Rally held in Saskatoon in support of 65-year-old woman deported to Pakistan

THE CANADIAN PRESS SASKATOON — Supporters of a 65-year-old woman who was deported to her native Pakistan earlier this week have held a rally at…
Continue Reading »


Fashion over the years in Bollywood

IMROZ MAUR VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood and Fashion go hand in hand; there is no Bollywood without fashion and there is no fashion without Bollywood. They…
Continue Reading »

Little India

Death of a neighbourhood? Little India’s Punjabi Market struggles to survive

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI When Simran and Hardeep Virk met 20 years ago at Langara College, they‚Äôd go to All India Sweets & Restaurant for…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Indian film star Vivek Oberoi walks with his wife Priyanka Alva Oberoi on the green carpet as they arrive for 15th annual International Indian Film Awards Saturday, April 26, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Why did Vivek Oberoi refuse a role on American series Homeland?

HINDUSTAN TIMES While Bollywood actors often jump at the opportunity to collaborate on international projects, Vivek Oberoi wasn’t quite so fortunate. Although the actor was…
Continue Reading »

Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is one of the members in Sanjay Gupta's upcoming star-studded movie Jazbaa. Aishwarya poses here at the amfAR 21st Annual Cinema Against AIDS during the 67th Cannes Film Festival in southern Franc on May 22, 2014. ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Sanjay Gupta to add more stars to upcoming Bollywood film Jazbaa’s cast

IANS Mumbai ¬†– Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta is excited about the way his next project Jazbaa, starring Aishwarya Rai, Irrfan Khan and Anupam Kher, is shaping…
Continue Reading »

Indian Bollywood film actress Priyanka Chopra poses during a promotional event of the Tata Salt 'Maine Desh ka Namak Khaya Hai' campaign, which features the story of boxer Mary Kom, and the promotion of the film 'Mary Kom' in Mumbai on September 10, 2014. AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images

Priyanka Chopra accepts Hrithik Roshan’s dare, performs handstand in heels

IANS Mumbai — Priyanka Chopra accepted and performed a handstand with a push up – a dare thrown at her by Hrithik Roshan. “The only…
Continue Reading »